Dear Everyone: Please Lighten Up on the iPad

It’s rare that something catches my attention and holds it for longer than three seconds, but I was no less than stunned at the backlash yesterday when Steve Jobs rolled out Apple’s latest creation, the iPad.

Holy crap, Batman.

The #1 trending topic on Twitter yesterday was NOT the iPad, but #iTampon.  Several women reacted with comments like “This shows that no women were involved in naming the device.”

My thinking?  Lighten up.

The San Francisco Chronicle ran an article this morning entitled  “Apple iPad tablet called iTampon on Twitter; women tweet, “and the author, Zennie Abraham, commented, somewhat indignantly:

And the vast majority of tweets referencing the iTampon are issued or retweeted by women. And adding Apple’s self-inflicted insult to that injury is the Apple iPad video itself, presented by three white male Apple senior level employees and including no women, and one very provocative segment where a man is using the iPad, where it’s placed between his legs and at his crouch, and the woman points to a feature on the iPad right near his crouch.”

Oh, where to start.

  1. In the last sentence, the word is “crotch,” not “crouch.”  If we are going to go all ballistic (gasp!  Did I mean “balls?”) on the male species, at least spell that part of our anatomy correctly.
  2. The vast majority of responses were tweeted or retweeted by women.  Really?  Perhaps I am not up on Twitter, but where is the box where you check your gender?  And what aggregator enables someone to tally this magic number?
  3. It was presented by three white males. Guess what?  Perhaps — just perhaps — these were individuals who were closely involved in the creation of the damn thing.
  4. And a woman pointing to a man’s “crouch?” Oh, the horrors.  Pretty soon, they’ll go back and move Lucy and Rick’s beds together in the old “I Love Lucy” shows.  And if you think THIS is provocative, walk through the grocery store with your children today and see how many times the word “orgasm” is listed in soft-core porn magazine like Cosmopolitan.

So here’s the Alpha Male perspective (and yes, I am ready for the inevitable flaming):

  1. I don’t remember there being an uproar when IBM rolled out the “trackball.”  There were not men with the online equivalent of torches and pitchforks protesting the completely offensive, intentional and unjust allusion to the male anatomy.  And women actually TOUCH THESE?
  2. Where is the outrage on mattress pads?  Men and women lie on these things together — and gasp — sometimes take their clothes off!
  3. Women wore shoulder pads in the 80’s.  Oh, the outrage!  Are all of these women now headed back to the closet, burning their shoulder pads?

Conclusion:

Ladies, I don’t want to hear any more about menstruation than  you want to hear about us getting kicked in the balls, jock itch, or any other affliction which is unique to the male species. And in the midst of the greatest economic collapse — maybe now a double dip recession, wars on two fronts and Obama bin Laden’s ugly mug showing up on a TV screen near you more than Conan O’Brien, THIS is something to get worked up about?

So maybe — just maybe — everyone can put down their torches and pitchforks and think for a moment this very important thought:

Before the whole “Internet” thing, we had this handy-dandy little device called a PAD — OF PAPER.  And we wrote on it.  And we read it.

Lighten up people.

Mark

P.S. – I have linked to the image from the SF Chronicle article.  Click on it.  At the end of the image name, you’ll see “apple-ipad-phalic.jpg.”  Hello pot? Kettle here.

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Comments

  1. I’ll admit, I am one of the many women who had a WTF? moment when I heard the name of this product. Personally, I think it will blow over (eventually). It’s the personal factor (the “i”) so close to the pad–>iPad/my pad that causes (at least for me) the Rorschach test response to feminine hygiene products. Not so for an ink pad, a legal pad, a mattress pad, note pad etc.

    The fact that this has been a joke for years (witness, the sudden rise of a 2007 Mad TV sketch) is another thing that makes me scratch my head. Was it intentional? I don’t know. I think part of the response is befuddlement over the question of intent–did they think this would be a response and went ahead anyway, or did they not think of it? Because with stuff like this out there: http://www.unboundedition.com/pdp_thinking/2010/jan/17/new-axe-ad-campaign-reaches-cleans-new-low/ you just don’t know anymore.

    I’m done wasting brain cycles on this…moving on!

    Jen

  2. At the risk of being un-PC: I wasn’t outraged, I thought it was funny.
    And in my experience, adult women do not make menstruation jokes, my sneaking suspicion is that it came straight from the potty joke brain of a teen or young adult, or an actual adult who still thinks that way.

    For the women who are claiming some offense, please worry about the more important issues. Its unfortunate naming, but we’ll all adjust and buy one anyway.

  3. Enjoyed the post, Mark. And yeah, we all need to lighten up. To that end, let me share this tweet I picked yesterday. Maybe it’ll take some of the heat off you. From @tdefren, another great guy with a sense of humor.

    I absolutely GUARANTEE that this will be the interwebs’ next viral video hit. MadTV’s iPad commercial from 2007! http://tinyurl.com/mj8qma

  4. All the name bashing struck me as the snickerings of a 12-year old boy. My first reaction was that the name was chosen because of it’s being so close to iPod and that there must be some long-term strategy at play here that will reveal itself in 5 years.

    But mostly I didn’t care.

    What REALLY struck me was all the bashing of a product that no one has seen, touched or used. Everyone is a freaking expert on everything, sight unseen. I realize this might be bad Internet form, but I would reference my own post of a week or so ago about opinions and social media. You can just skip to the last 2 paragraphs, and skip all the facebook stuff. http://bit.ly/7UCzws

  5. Johnna Story Says: January 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I cannot believe this. The women criticising the name of the new iPad give other women – and themselves – a bad name. When women use their collective voice on things that are really wrong in our society – equal pay, right to choose, etc. – good for us. When women use their collective voice on trivial crap over what a new product is named, shame on them. This is no more offensive to women than the iPod, iPhone, or iTouch. Women should stop minimising the power of their voice on this kind of issue, because it makes their voice less powerful on issues that really do matter.

  6. Mark Story Says: January 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Jen,

    You always offer a fresh and interesting perspective. I did not think of the “I” in front of it.

    Did you see Jason Falls’ take on it? It’s on fallsoftherocker.com.

    And you rock! Thanks for commenting.

    Mark

  7. When I first read the name of the product, I couldn’t help thinking that the name was, well, unfortunate.

    I think the hullabaloo was fairly gender neutral, but the bottom line takeaway for me is if you’re taking a product to a mass consumer market, it helps to think in terms of how a 12-year-old boy might react, because at the end of the day, we all think like 12-year-old boys. 🙂

  8. Mark Story Says: January 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Shannon,

    As usual, with simplicity and written elegance, you have summed up the whole stupid debate. We all do think like 12 year old boys.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Mark

  9. Mark Story Says: January 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Bill,

    it’s do nice of you to visit my little cublicle in cyberspace as well as to comment.

    Todd’s stuff is dry and hilarious. I lovecreading his stuff and yours as well. And who knows? Maybe the iPad was a “new Coke” moment.

    All the best,

    Mark

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